265: Punching the Baby Seal of PC Gaming

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The only games I play on PC are ones that:
I can't play on a console
I get for free on steam
Are games that I have on a console and want the pc version for some reason

Actually, that article describes about every game on my PC. In fact, the onldst PC game I have runs the best.
Quake works perfectly
Quake 2 freezes a lot
Portal can be a bit laggy
Alien Swarm is really laggy
I'm getting Doom 3 for PC, just cause I want to spawn 12 cyberdemons or 30 pinkies.

I think the big problem with this article and subsequent discussion is this: For many people, PC gaming is a labor of love. The platform has problems if you don't put effort in. And for those willing to put that effort in, your article comes off as flamebait. I know it does to me. It is already a heavily derided platform, and all of those who have chosen to stick with the PC have to deal with minimal development for the platform, since developing for other platforms is much more profitable. The fact that you're often delivered ports that don't work well or at all, And even those games that did see reasonable development in the studio (Read: Bethesda, fallout 3) The PC version doesn't get the most attention, and thus ends up with some problems. Those things are a constant source of frustration. Technical hurdles can be a pain, but for those of us determined to keep with it, it's something we consider worthwhile and the effort is not so painful. Having it bashed by a magazine who saw fit to give time and space to someone's gripe is just angering.

There are things about gaming on the PC that I personally can't do without. I can't stand a purely proprietary platform like any of the consoles that exist. They feed one company solely, and I can't stand that. Those companies, want to own solely your entertainment purchases. With PCs there are a just a set of standards. You can have someone put it together for you, or you can do it yourself.

PCs serve more than one function. They can do a wide variety of tasks as opposed to a console which is single purpose (or close to single purpose, they're desperately trying to expand their functionality late in the lifespan of of those consoles now, note the availability of twitter and netflix now.)

The building of PC and the related troubleshooting early on gives you a useful skill, dealing with your computer. Computers are going to be a part of all our lives until we pass away, having the knowledge to deal with it when there are problems serves me by allowing for a kind of self-reliance. Something I know a lot of people care about.

I've come to see PC gaming as some amount like life. It doesn't always work perfectly, but if you're willing to put the effort in, you can get satisfying results. Presumably you see this as an entertainment platform, and as such should require no extra effort. It's a rationale I understand, though I think things don't work that way. How many vacations have you been on that ended in disaster? Someone got sick, it was hot as hell and you hated every second of it, applying aloe to your back for days unable to sit on the couch, whatever it was. Things like that happen sometimes. Your efforts to recreate can be marred with problems. You could choose to embrace the imperfections, or just hope it doesn't happen to you. Or see it as something in the real world not free of faults.

Like all gaming platforms, technical issues can arise. While limiting the functionality of a computer just to play games has it's benefits, particularly when it comes to maintenance, it also has it's price. You've made your choice and I've made mine.

Nothing's perfect. Even consoles suffer from breakdowns and the discs can go wonky sometimes. As long as we're careful then problems will be kept to a minimum.

Steam... Games for Windows Live.... (face twitches in annoyance) Well, there's your problem!

Apart from several blown PSUs, a fried graphics card and several blown capacitors on my motherboard my Dell 9200 has served me dilligently for over 3 years, dealing easily with the stress of running FO3, Crysis, HL2 and whatever else I've thrown at it. Of course I had to install XP over the fresh Vista install it came with, but I thought everyone (including Microsoft) knew that Vista is a completely useless OS if you want to do more than look at the shiny OS UI and run Office...

If you keep your computer hardware and software in good order, it will reward you by working - if you lapse: prepare for a world of hurt when you least expect it.

Keeping windows, direct x, device drivers and the .net framework up to date might be a hassle, but it's also necessary for most new games. Oh and running bloatware like Steam, MSN and Windows Update (and Games Windows Live) is a big no-no (there are workabouts; there are always workabouts, and as long as you bought the game they're not even illegal).

The problem with console gaming is that they don't really do 'serious' games well: FPSes dont work since you either don't have a mouse or can't both move and aim at the same time easily (although I do now have a brilliant idea for a Wii game); Strategies fall flat for much the same reason, and RPGs generally lack the MMO element which is now considered an absolute for a successful game.

The vast majority of my game playing is on the PC and as much as I love Dragon Age Fallout 3 or any of the other games I play I do still get annoyed when they crash on me for no discernable reason.

ThorUK:
Apart from several blown PSUs, a fried graphics card and several blown capacitors on my motherboard my Dell 9200 has served me dilligently for over 3 years

If I'd had that many problems in 3 years from any piece of tech I'd have taken it outside and shot it.

PC gaming doesnt really give me that much trouble (Except for fallout 3 *twitch*).
I've got a very good system atm, so i dont need to worry so much about meeting required settings, as everything just runs on high without trouble, which takes some of the hassle out of it. What does annoy me is when games are poorly optimised, so that, for example, Red Faction Guerilla actually runs worse than crysis does when both are at high settings, despite crysis looking considerably better. When games do work (which is about 90% of the time for me) they look much much better than console versions and often have mods or developer consoles to play about with, adding to the enjoyment you get out of a purchase.

What is even better about a PC is that you can use them for a variety of applications, not just PC gaming - I could, for instance, use my PC to mod items into a game I like or to tweak the gameplay experience (for example, you can play SC2 as a tower defence game with custom maps now).

Consoles do have the advantage of ease of use, but thats pretty much the only advantage they have over PC gaming.

Its also come to my attention that, in the article, Chuck has chosen games that are reputably bad ports (SR2, RFG),the damned hardest game to run on PC yet (Fallout 3), and a game that kicks the shit out of most PC's unless its reasonably up to date...

I liked the article it was amusing without being hostile and it also highlights part of my reason why I don't game on PCs; I already work for my fun; I call it my job.

Now, this isn't to say that console gaming is superior; this is about my personal preference regarding how I want to spend my time.

I do not want to spend it tweaking my system to ensure it runs 'right' I just want to play. Yes, this means that sometimes I get screwed (L4D DLC, RRD moments, etc.) or miss out on things (Starcraft, Diablo ) but for the most part; I paid for it, it works and I don't have to fuck about with anything else.

That said there are people who love PC gaming and the rewards it brings-power to you. I choose something else. I refuse to believe that my experience of fun is less than yours and I am certain you cannot demonstrate that you are having more fun than I am. You're just having fun over there.

PC gaming is a luxery I can't afford, can't be bother to keep up with, and a waste of time. I want to load up my game, have it work nice and simply, and then just spend however long I want on it. Hell, it's why I'm getting pissed off a KoToR on steam, because every god damn cutscene requires the game to go back to desktop. Even if it's a five second cutscene, it has to minimize the entire game. I don't care my laptop is old, it CAN run it, and it'll let me watch the cutscene fine. When the game for some reason decided against my will to play in a windowed form, it worked much better which baffled me even more, but when I tried to set that up as the norm, there was no option to do so.

I like the game, and it's fun, but this horrible game disrupting issue is killing my intrest very quickly. I'm sorely tempted to look into finding an xbox copy. Sure, it'll have less support, and the controls may be different, but at this point, it'll less damn stressful.

There needs to be a warrantee for games. If it can be proved that the fault is in the game's software itself, then the person who found the issue is given a full refund and extra.

I play nothing but PC games, but even I have to agree with your frustrated sentiments.

I've tried to be a PC gamer at some points in time and when the games work, it's great to be able to play games not available on the console... but when it doesn't work well, then I end up with experiences like the one in the article... I prefer that a product I buy, whether it is a PC or a game, works when I use it.

Taddy:
Yeah Fallout 3 tends to do that. First play through a few years ago, "Holy shit the Wasteland looks awesome! Is that Megat- Error". Restart..."Megaton here i C- Error". Restart "Megaton- no wait save it first then just walk". Save "Ah finally Megato-Error' DAMMIT! after playing through the game and DLC i ended up with around....600 saves total.

That's called Bethesda Quality.

If you want to spend 60 dollars on a coaster, by Bethesda.

They make the most gorgeous worlds you'll ever see but they preface that with the game only working 10% of the time.

"You can mod anything?!" "SWEET!" "Just know that changing one color of one leaf in one tree will reduce the games stability to 1 in 100 loads." "...oh."

wadark:

romxxii:
TL;DR

Everything you say reinforces my point. You've worked in Tech Support, so you know what you're talking about. I have not, so I don't. I just want to play this game that I've been anticipating.

I don't know that long-install times mean I need a new disc drive. I wouldn't think I'd need a new one since I've installed a grand total of 4 disc games in the 1.5 years I've had this machine.

I don't know that directX comes on the disc for SC2...it certainly never popped up before, during, or after install. And if I don't know that it comes packaged, why would I ever go looking for it in the disc files or wherever I'm supposed to find it.

I got what I could afford from dell at the time and let me be clear, it works great. A couple hiccups now and then.

My point is that I don't know, and considering I've been using computers a bit longer than most people, they certainly wouldn't know unless they were told. But when asked, I get sarcastic know-it-all elitist remarks like yours. Again, you reinforce my point. Sure, its second-nature to you because you have extensive experience in the nuances, but to a layman like me, its a nightmare.

I believe that the article is great and explain (maybe a little less than articulately) the experiences that most anyone new to PC gaming suffer through.

Well I do apologize if sharing a bit of knowledge is considered sarcastic elitism by your standards. I guess it's the same way that every whine against the PC, which itself is a multi-platform market, sounds grating to me. See, this is the point: you compare your iphone or Xbox or whatever to a PC when you have to ask yourself: do all iPhones have the same specs? All Xboxes? Whatever variation will not be performance-based, and developers basically have to work within the same performance specs.

Computers on the other hand, come within so many ranges, from bargain basement shit that can barely play a Facebook game, to behemoths like Alienware systems. It's more like the auto industry, if you ask me. When you buy a lemon of a car, do you complain loudly that you can't participate in NASCAR? Yet people continue to overtax their systems, without at least checking with an expert to see if their rigs can handle the workload to begin with, then rant about it later on.

My point is, ignorance is inexcusable, especially in this day and age where everything is a Google and wiki away. Just the same way that you have to understand that your car works best with certain kinds of gasoline, you have to understand your system's limitations, tweak your games accordingly, do system tune ups, call Dell if you need help with that, and be happy that the devs actually made their game at least compatible with it in some way.

Oh and BTW, most new games install DirectX in the background, in the tail end of your game install. But yeah it's there.

I your system is crap you need a better one, doesn't this seem a tiny bit logical? ASlo we are in era of programming prehistory, almost nothing has been solved and huge changes will follow. Take for example Unicode, it's a font coding standard better than the old ascii and should be used everywhere. there is no such a thing as superior standard when it comes to programming, it's all spammed with very similiar languages and clones or deviations. In effect there is multitude of ways to do exact same thing on the web, all languages with different(+lot of inheritent identical) possibilities to fuck something up everytime. World of coding needs union and that is why consoles are super-predictable. We need to get rid of disc media, there is always chance the data got damaged at some point. Even disk drives can't guarantee errorfree data storage, so your best guess is direct download.

And I guarantee most of revolutionary stuff I installed in my firefox is gonna get implemented in next gen operationg systems: gestures, meaningful link drag(draging up opens in foreground and the opposite), clever url, sessions, read it later, advanced customisation, etc.

ppl complaining about lag in Alien Swarm: leave the server immediately. Like 1 of 16 servers where everybody lags and probably 1 of 10 only somebody lags. Or even better,you could start your server, I do it whenever I have time,and if somebody lags, kick him. The most horryfying thing would be living somewhere far from civilisation and not being able to find lag-free servers(if that's the case, o_O niggawut?).

uppitycracker:
Wow, I had a really hard time reading that. Anti-PC gaming statements like this sure are infuriating. People talk about how the PC market is dying (which couldn't be farther from the truth), and here we have so-called writers basically talking down on the whole experience, when it's most likely due to user error? I mean, a number of factors can cause the problems you've explained. And most of them usually have to do with ignorance on the users part.

It's funny, because all of those games listed, I have had zero issues with. Crysis especially. What am I doing differently? Honestly, probably not much. Just simple things, such as keeping my PC free of dust, making sure I don't bottleneck my system with one amazing part and one ancient one (which I'd almost be willing to bet one of these two things is yer problem), ect.

Honestly, it's ignorant posting like this that I thought I was avoiding by reading the escapist. It amazes me that this was even published. Shit like this is only going to give the wrong perception of PC gamers to people who don't know better, and a market that is already struggling in the console age doesn't need crap like this tainting it's image. In short, and I'm sure I speak for all PC gamers when I say this: Fuck PC gaming? No, sir, fuck you.

It seems like most of the people who disagree with Chuck haven't actually read the article. Everything he says is totally justified and if you suspend disbelief and just assume that he isn't lying for some unknown reason, then you'll see that his exasperation with the platform as a whole is warranted.

He isn't needlessly hating on PC gaming, he is merely pointing out the single biggest downside of the platform; it's not an opinion, it is a fact, that it is EASIER to play on a console; the plug-and-play mentality is what sets the console above the PC for the casual gamer; the guy who comes in after a days work and just wants to sit back and shoot people mindlessly for an hour or so.
Saying that what he has said is somehow morally wrong because the industry is weaker than it used to be and it will give a bad impression to potential PC gamers is just flat out wrong and it is much more immoral to hide the facts so that people will make ill-informed decisions on their gaming needs because a few people can't accept that people want different things from their gaming experience.

chuckwendig:
Oh, and for the record, my PC's a year old and is not overclocked.

I've played PC games for a long, long time, and this has been a persistent issue across the board, regardless of the PC, regardless of the brand.

I'll always come back to PC gaming, but it doesn't change the fact that getting games to run properly can feel as productive as smashing one's own face into the desk.

These days, with technology being where it's at, I expect minimal tinkering. Or, if it requires significant tinkering, then I want good quality customer service -- another thing lacking across the PC gaming "platform."

-- Chuck

Your xbox has hardware in it that's five years old. That's fine if you want to play simplified garbage. There are games that have come out for the pc that have eclipsed anything any console has ever offered, partly because of the tech, partly because of the breed of person behind the games.

The FO3 modding community is insane and know that you are missing out on some great stuff not possible on anything else.

Anyhow, I'm sorry it took you this long to figure out you were content with mainstream trash. Also very nice of you to kick pc gaming when its down, during a recession, where senior staff are being replaced with wet behind the ears kids just so companies can post flat year over year profits instead of red ink.

I could go on, but I too value my time. Ill just say ill never own a gaming device you can pick up at any toys r us, because for me, this really is a hobby and not a mindless distraction to be traded in to gamestop when u get bored with it.

RhombusHatesYou:

ThorUK:
Apart from several blown PSUs, a fried graphics card and several blown capacitors on my motherboard my Dell 9200 has served me dilligently for over 3 years

If I'd had that many problems in 3 years from any piece of tech I'd have taken it outside and shot it.

Heh it went back and fourth to and from uni something like 10 times, so that may have had something to do with the failing PSUs...

I love consoles. So easy. I only play Plants vs. Zombies and Viva Pinata on my pc. Best combined twelve dollars I have spent I think. However, Killzone 2 looks pretty sick on my tv...

Man, I feel your pain here. I think the problem isn't so much that it's a lot of work to get PCs to work properly. It's not. Sometimes it can be really frustrating, but mostly it's just simple little stuff.

The problem is that after doing it for decades you start to feel like Sisyphus. You wonder why the hell you bother anymore. "What's the fucking point?" is all I can think anymore when a game doesn't work perfectly the first time I try it. Sure, it's a fun challenge to overcome the first ten thousand times, but it gets old. I, like the author of this article, have been doing this far too long, and I'm done. No more. I quit.

...

Until Civilization 5 comes out, of course.

If there's only one thing I love about console gaming, it's the "insert disk and play" style. No install, no searching for video card updates, no updating hardware. Sure, games occasionally crash, but that's a rarity.

However, the draw of PC gaming is great considering the huge number of awesome mods. Both PC and console gaming have their merits; both are about equal overall. So let's stop the PC elitism and the console fanboyism.

DRM and crashing are indeed frustrating, but the way I see it, that's not the PC itselfs fault. Fallout didn't suck because it was on the PC, it sucked because of games for windows suck and bethesda. however bad things about the console ARE their fault. I don't play consoles much, so the only thing i can think of is the reverse compatability crap. xbox sucks because its a microsoft product, but PS3 can play old games, but sony gave you a big middle finger.

Last Valiance:
It seems like most of the people who disagree with Chuck haven't actually read the article. Everything he says is totally justified and if you suspend disbelief and just assume that he isn't lying for some unknown reason, then you'll see that his exasperation with the platform as a whole is warranted.

He isn't needlessly hating on PC gaming, he is merely pointing out the single biggest downside of the platform

I have read the article and my god could you not be more wrong. He did not give one justified point throughout the whole thing. Every single problem he encountered is common and easy to fix. Plus how is the single biggest downside of a platform the user? It isn't the PC's fault he is an idiot.

Basically his whole rant can be compressed to this "HERP DERP, MAN PC SUX ITS 2 HARD N' SHIT I THEY MAEK INSTALLIN GAMES 2 HARD Y CANT I JUST PRESS 1 BUTTIN. I GOT AH DELL XPS I SHUD BE THE BEST GAEMAR EVARRR!!1 TOO BAD PC SUX".

Taddy:
Yeah Fallout 3 tends to do that. First play through a few years ago, "Holy shit the Wasteland looks awesome! Is that Megat- Error". Restart..."Megaton here i C- Error". Restart "Megaton- no wait save it first then just walk". Save "Ah finally Megato-Error' DAMMIT! after playing through the game and DLC i ended up with around....600 saves total.

Don't forget, it was buggy as hell on consoles as well.
My brother's experience was getting out of the vault, and it crashed on the loading screen to outside.
He never played it again.

I beat it, nonetheless, but as far as first impressions go, it does boil de blood.

romxxii:

wadark:

romxxii:
TL;DR

Everything you say reinforces my point. You've worked in Tech Support, so you know what you're talking about. I have not, so I don't. I just want to play this game that I've been anticipating.

I don't know that long-install times mean I need a new disc drive. I wouldn't think I'd need a new one since I've installed a grand total of 4 disc games in the 1.5 years I've had this machine.

I don't know that directX comes on the disc for SC2...it certainly never popped up before, during, or after install. And if I don't know that it comes packaged, why would I ever go looking for it in the disc files or wherever I'm supposed to find it.

I got what I could afford from dell at the time and let me be clear, it works great. A couple hiccups now and then.

My point is that I don't know, and considering I've been using computers a bit longer than most people, they certainly wouldn't know unless they were told. But when asked, I get sarcastic know-it-all elitist remarks like yours. Again, you reinforce my point. Sure, its second-nature to you because you have extensive experience in the nuances, but to a layman like me, its a nightmare.

I believe that the article is great and explain (maybe a little less than articulately) the experiences that most anyone new to PC gaming suffer through.

Well I do apologize if sharing a bit of knowledge is considered sarcastic elitism by your standards. I guess it's the same way that every whine against the PC, which itself is a multi-platform market, sounds grating to me. See, this is the point: you compare your iphone or Xbox or whatever to a PC when you have to ask yourself: do all iPhones have the same specs? All Xboxes? Whatever variation will not be performance-based, and developers basically have to work within the same performance specs.

Computers on the other hand, come within so many ranges, from bargain basement shit that can barely play a Facebook game, to behemoths like Alienware systems. It's more like the auto industry, if you ask me. When you buy a lemon of a car, do you complain loudly that you can't participate in NASCAR? Yet people continue to overtax their systems, without at least checking with an expert to see if their rigs can handle the workload to begin with, then rant about it later on.

My point is, ignorance is inexcusable, especially in this day and age where everything is a Google and wiki away. Just the same way that you have to understand that your car works best with certain kinds of gasoline, you have to understand your system's limitations, tweak your games accordingly, do system tune ups, call Dell if you need help with that, and be happy that the devs actually made their game at least compatible with it in some way.

Oh and BTW, most new games install DirectX in the background, in the tail end of your game install. But yeah it's there.

You make a fair point, no doubt. But while sharing knowledge and info isn't elitism, saying something like "Its so easy a 5 year old can do it." is.

But you can't deny that regardless of how wiki/google-simple it may be, it still takes a fair bit of time to learn what exactly to do, find all the parts, and put them together properly. And then you have to learn a whole range of troubleshooting because if something goes wrong with a custom-built system, YOU have to be the one to identify exactly where/what the problem is, and how to remedy it.

On the other hand, you can have a decent Dell specified in an hour or so, and shipped to you in a week. And with people having full time jobs, friends, and family obligations, some just don't have the time, or simply don't wish to devote that much of their free time to it. And I really don't think that these people should be punished (whether by the simple fact that the games don't work, or by the people on the internet from whom the ask for help) for this.

Also, let's not sugarcoat the cost. While it may technically less expensive to build your own computer, that "discount" comes at the cost of the aforementioned research/study.

As far as performance specs go, I completely understand, and every PC game comes with the required/minimum/recommended specs right on the box. And if you buy a game without at least some basic knowledge of whether your system can handle it, that's your own fault. But my issue comes in when I know I have a system that can handle say SC2 (according to the printed recommendation), and I still have to jump through some hoops to get it to run properly (SC2 being of course a VERY mild case of PC gaming issues).

Concerning DirectX...all I can say is, while that may be true with some, or even most, games, it definitely did not happen with SC2. And as I originally said, it took me quite a while to figure out what I needed to do (thanks to the wonderfully designed microsoft.com)

wadark:

You make a fair point, no doubt. But while sharing knowledge and info isn't elitism, saying something like "Its so easy a 5 year old can do it." is.

When did I say a five year old can do it? All I said was that I find anti-PC whining grating because it's mostly just guys who buy budget systems complaining about being unable to run things it wasn't meant to. Yeah they're not expected to know that, that's why there's bloody tech support in the first place. But if they'd just take the advice and not complain first, that'd be better. You don't see car owners doing that sort of shit with an honest mechanic. Reminds me of this time when this guy started screaming when he lost his entire address book, only to backpedal later when I realized he just opened the wrong mail client. Contrast with this little old lady couldn't understand why her Internet was running slow, when it turned out she only had 512MB of RAM and had a bajillion IE windows open, who I assisted promptly because she wasn't really being hostile about it, and took the time to listen to my "connection latency vs system latency" lecture.

wadark:

But you can't deny that regardless of how wiki/google-simple it may be, it still takes a fair bit of time to learn what exactly to do, find all the parts, and put them together properly. And then you have to learn a whole range of troubleshooting because if something goes wrong with a custom-built system, YOU have to be the one to identify exactly where/what the problem is, and how to remedy it.

On the other hand, you can have a decent Dell specified in an hour or so, and shipped to you in a week. And with people having full time jobs, friends, and family obligations, some just don't have the time, or simply don't wish to devote that much of their free time to it. And I really don't think that these people should be punished (whether by the simple fact that the games don't work, or by the people on the internet from whom the ask for help) for this.

Also, let's not sugarcoat the cost. While it may technically less expensive to build your own computer, that "discount" comes at the cost of the aforementioned research/study.

Even getting a customized Dell requires a bit of research. Building a system that does more than run Microsoft Office really requires a bit of looking into, especially when Dell tries to hawk you specific parts that may not be the best or most cost effective. I worked with them for a time, even their video card "upgrades" aren't the best in that particular budgetary line sometimes.

wadark:

As far as performance specs go, I completely understand, and every PC game comes with the required/minimum/recommended specs right on the box. And if you buy a game without at least some basic knowledge of whether your system can handle it, that's your own fault. But my issue comes in when I know I have a system that can handle say SC2 (according to the printed recommendation), and I still have to jump through some hoops to get it to run properly (SC2 being of course a VERY mild case of PC gaming issues).

Concerning DirectX...all I can say is, while that may be true with some, or even most, games, it definitely did not happen with SC2. And as I originally said, it took me quite a while to figure out what I needed to do (thanks to the wonderfully designed microsoft.com)

Again, like my car analogy, you should be responsible for updating drivers especially if your system's over 2 years old, just like you're responsible for getting your car into the local garage very few thousand miles. On consoles you don't notice because the whole thing's a bundled device, and every system update takes care of everything. On the PC, since even prebuilt systems like Dells are invariably a mishmash of different products by different manufacturers, you really have to do it yourself.

But then if SC2 didn't install any system updates like DX, that's Blizzard's or distributor Activision's fault, not the PC as a gaming platform (unless you got a lemon system, which in that case, you'd be the one to blame. But you said it's not, so let's not). Every other game out there installs all of the crap that's required for the game to run, like DirectX, PhysX, and more recently, MS C++. My system's on its 3rd year now (though I did upgrade a year ago), and I haven't had any problems with game installations or running games smoothly.

Finally, even minimum and recommended specs can be misleading, because what some people don't understand is that minimum means lowest settings, while recommended means medium settings, with max settings devoted to rigs that are way beyond some people's budgets. It would be nice if the game, aside from automatically determining video settings, also lets you benchmark and tweak it so that you can get the best of performance and quality. SF4 did that, so did SC:CT and JC2. and the old FEAR.

AAAAAH THE FLAMES! I CANT ESCAPE THE HEAT!

Honestly, stop treating this guy like he's some sort of demon spawn just because he is frustrated with PC Gaming. Honestly, when there is no face to go with someone's words, people seem to lose all self-control. Anonymity can be a bitch. Time to bring out the ol' fire extinguisher...

ATTENTION EVERYONE. STOP THIS WAR IMMEDIATELY. PLEASE DO THE FOLLOWING.
Step 1: Cool down, and restrain yourself from ranting. This is the Escapist, not Youtube or 4Chan.
Step 2: Read the article in its entirety.
Step 3: Carefully consider the perspective of the opposite side. Maybe they actually have some good points.
Step 4: Resume writing comments with the integrity and levelheadedness that comes with the classification of being a "civilized" being, noting that your opponents are not the Devil Incarnate.
Step 5: Profit!

Imagine yourself as the writer. Would you not be pissed in his position? Maybe I'm wrong, but it seems that the amount of fire produced by this thread is not proportional to Chuck's actual "hatred" of PC Gaming.

By the way, stop saying that he is too stupid to read the manual or build a computer or whatever! Don't you see that that is his whole point? Calling him lazy or stupid is not an argument, and a very immature one at that.

romxxii:

When did I say a five year old can do it? All I said was that I find anti-PC whining grating because it's mostly just guys who buy budget systems complaining about being unable to run things it wasn't meant to. Yeah they're not expected to know that, that's why there's bloody tech support in the first place. But if they'd just take the advice and not complain first, that'd be better. You don't see car owners doing that sort of shit with an honest mechanic. Reminds me of this time when this guy started screaming when he lost his entire address book, only to backpedal later when I realized he just opened the wrong mail client. Contrast with this little old lady couldn't understand why her Internet was running slow, when it turned out she only had 512MB of RAM and had a bajillion IE windows open, who I assisted promptly because she wasn't really being hostile about it, and took the time to listen to my "connection latency vs system latency" lecture.

Someone in this thread, it may not have been you, quoted me at some point saying that building your own PC was so easy a 5 year old could do it. If that wasn't you I apologize (EDIT: it wasn't you, I realized, my apologies again for putting words in your mouth), but my point in saying that was simply to point out that in the "PC Tech community", like in most online communities, there's a rash of elitist jackasses who respond to sincere requests for assistance with sarcasm and hostility.

romxxii:

Even getting a customized Dell requires a bit of research. Building a system that does more than run Microsoft Office really requires a bit of looking into, especially when Dell tries to hawk you specific parts that may not be the best or most cost effective. I worked with them for a time, even their video card "upgrades" aren't the best in that particular budgetary line sometimes.

But there are also pre-configured machines, and my experience, with Dell at least, has been that these are fairly good machines, not the absolute best, but more than adequate. And it doesn't take long to find one that does what you want. But even when customizing, it really only takes a relative understanding of what the major components (processor, hard drive, memory, video card) do to be able to put together a good machine. And many websites like Dell provide basic video instruction on that matter, which, while extremely basic in its explanation, does do a pretty good job of explaining it to the layman.

On the other hand, personally building a PC takes a pretty intimate knowledge of all the components (not just the major ones) and how they work together. Troubleshooting is also far more complicated since you don't have a single, central tech support to assist you. You have to be able to diagnose the problem and fix it yourself.

romxxii:

Again, like my car analogy, you should be responsible for updating drivers especially if your system's over 2 years old, just like you're responsible for getting your car into the local garage very few thousand miles. On consoles you don't notice because the whole thing's a bundled device, and every system update takes care of everything. On the PC, since even prebuilt systems like Dells are invariably a mishmash of different products by different manufacturers, you really have to do it yourself.

Drivers are something I don't have much of a problem with. Games will generally tell you if your drivers are out of date and with most video card companies like nvidia and ATI, they are pretty easy to find on their website.

romxxii:

But then if SC2 didn't install any system updates like DX, that's Blizzard's or distributor Activision's fault, not the PC as a gaming platform (unless you got a lemon system, which in that case, you'd be the one to blame. But you said it's not, so let's not). Every other game out there installs all of the crap that's required for the game to run, like DirectX, PhysX, and more recently, MS C++. My system's on its 3rd year now (though I did upgrade a year ago), and I haven't had any problems with game installations or running games smoothly.

My concern with something like DirectX isn't the fact that the game didn't install it. I don't mind that so much, but its that trying to figure out how and where to download it was a royal pain in the ass. I had to try and navigate microsoft's awful website to try and find the directX page, which then wouldn't even let me just update DirectX, so I'm not even sure what the DX page is for. Its not like PC gaming has one giant clenching flaw that makes it "suck", but rather that there are a lot of little tiny things that gnaw at some people and make it a really unattractive platform to game on.

Perhaps we've been spoiled by console gaming to some degree, but I'm not one who subscribes to the notion of "the struggle makes it all the sweeter." Fiddling with my computer for an additional hour on top of the install time to get Starcraft 2 to run didn't make Starcraft 2 any better when I finally got in. It made it worse because it took time away from me being able to play the game before I had other things to do.

romxxii:

Finally, even minimum and recommended specs can be misleading, because what some people don't understand is that minimum means lowest settings, while recommended means medium settings, with max settings devoted to rigs that are way beyond some people's budgets. It would be nice if the game, aside from automatically determining video settings, also lets you benchmark and tweak it so that you can get the best of performance and quality. SF4 did that, so did SC:CT and JC2. and the old FEAR.

That's definitely not a bad idea.

...I don't have that much trouble.

I'll admit I'm getting pretty damn sick of so many PC games being so goddamn buggy and so terribly optimized. They suffer terribly from not enough dev and testing time. What's worse is when they don't even bother to patch them. I honestly can't remember a single (non-Valve) game I've played on PC in the past year that didn't have some terrible bug or should of played fine on my uber rig, but somehow managed to run like a slide show. I'd like to blame it on too much attention being lavished on consoles these days, with PC development being given the short end of the stick, but a couple of these games were pc-exclusive, so that's not the only issue.
I guess it's a difficult medium, with so many factors that the devs are unable to contro: hardware, drivers, OS, etc. With consoles you have the same exact setup with every user, so debugging has to be much simpler. Still... it's feeling pretty inexcusable much of the time.
From the sound of it, I'd also wager that your system isn't up to snuff, but I'll concede that keeping an "up to snuff" gaming PC these days can be like a second job.

Still, for all the irregularities, I vastly prefer PC over any other gaming platform, and I will not be casting it aside.

Wow you have some seriously bad luck there man.

Ever played Rigs of Rods? THE most unstable game I've ever played, and guess what: it works without incident 90-95% of the time, so much so that I don't even care all that much when it does crash.

The majority of crashes on my PC are due to me overclocking it too much or running too many things at once or mods. All of those things are the fault of the user.

And as said, never get a pre-built pc: you'll pay 3 times as much and get half the performance you could have if you'd built it yourself, or had gone to a computer shop and said "hey here's $2500 build me a gaming pc!".

Or maybe I and everyone I've ever known are blessed by the Fates themselves :P

All the more reason publishers need to give the development teams more time to fix bugs.

I've never had problems with my PC before, it takes a certain type of person to get used to.

I haven't had any bad experiences with it bcause my dad bought all the stuff for me and gave it to me for my Christmas (I only got a little bit of stuff that year which I worked hard for, so don't say I'm ungrateful.)

I didn't think that was a particularly professional article, you sound like you have no idea what you are doing. Crysis never crashed once for me on my old dell, the problem is probably steam.

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